Living in Dallas for 24 years has given me many opportunities to know and work with flight attendants. In fact, one of the biggest clinical gems I’ve learned was thanks to a 40-year American Airline flight attendant! She had been struggling with elevated cholesterol levels for years and lives a remarkably healthy lifestyle for flying international. After noticing her refraining from lunch after a 90-minute Yoga class and opting for a cup of coffee, I decided to try a simple suggestion as part of our next office visit. When we met, I advised her to try eating or snacking every 2-3 hours for a month. I explained that going too long between meals and snacks is hard on the liver and creates more work for it, meaning the liver gets called into action releasing more glucose (primary fuel for your brain and muscles). This is a backup job for the liver and shouldn’t be occurring on a frequent and regular basis. LDL and VLDL were her two high cholesterol numbers and these two types of cholesterol are produced predominantly in the liver.
On her first return flight from Europe after starting her new snack & meal plan, she excitedly reported that her undergarments hadn’t left marks on her shoulders – a common issue. Less inflammation – wow!
Six months later her total cholesterol was down to a normal number and more importantly, her LDL and VLDL were completely normal! Who knew?!
Flattening out your blood sugar throughout the day is easily achieved by eating or snacking every few hours. Flight attendants can take easily packed food on the outbound flight, as well as raw nuts or a small container of almond butter for your return flight.
Take a simple step to support your bodies, given all the stressors you experience when working as flight attendants. Thank you for all you do to keep us safe and well taken care of while in the air!